NBA regular season

James Harden flirts with triple-double in Sixers debut

James Harden flirts with triple-double in Sixers debut

DEBUT. Sixers guard James Harden dribbles past Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels.

Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

James Harden quickly gets going with his new squad as the Sixers take down the Timberwolves

Joel Embiid had 34 points and 10 rebounds and James Harden added 27 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds in his debut to lift the Philadelphia 76ers past the host Minnesota Timberwolves, 133-102, on Friday, February 25 (Saturday, February 26, Manila time).

It was Harden’s first game with the Sixers since being acquired with Paul Millsap from the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round draft picks. Harden was sidelined with a strained hamstring for his first four games with the Sixers.

Tyrese Maxey contributed 28 points and 4 steals and Matisse Thybulle chipped in with 11 points for the Sixers.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 25 points, D’Angelo Russell added 21, and Anthony Edwards had 15. Jaden McDaniels also scored 10 points.

Maxey drove from midcourt to the basket for a layup for a 51-43 lead with 4:04 remaining in the second quarter.

Russell converted a three-point play on the Timberwolves’ ensuing possession.

Harden hit a three-pointer and was fouled with 56.3 seconds left for a rare four-point play and a 63-49 advantage.

The Sixers led 65-49 at halftime thanks in large part to Harden’s 17 points.

Russell paced the Timberwolves with 17.

Embiid dropped in a trey from the top of the key with 10:04 to go in the third and the Sixers went ahead 75-53.

On Philadelphia’s next offensive trip, Thybulle stole the ball and found a wide open Maxey for a 9-0 run and a 24-point advantage.

McDaniels and Russell scored consecutive baskets, but Minnesota still trailed by 20 with 7:53 remaining in the third.

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Edwards scored 10 straight for the Timberwolves, yet they fell behind 92-74 at the end of the third.

Maxey opened the fourth with back-to-back floaters in the lane for a 22-point lead.

The Sixers kept the pressure on when Embiid received a bounce pass from Harden and hit a trey for a 105-83 lead with 7:54 left.

Harden converted his second four-point play, this time with 5:53 left, for a 113-89 advantage.

The Sixers cruised to the win from that point. –